Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name




Faculty Mentor

Juan Luis Mata


Tuan Tran, Laura Frost


Boletes are a special kind of mushroom inside of the Kingdom Fungi that are distinguished from other mushrooms by their uniquely pored hymenium, as opposed to gills. Many boletes are ectomycorrhizal, meaning they are mutualists with vascular plants, and thus beneficial to the overall health of the terrestrial ecosystem. Some are well-known for their edibility and are of economic importance. In the United States 59 genus-level clades comprising 290 operational taxonomic units have been reported. The southeastern US and Gulf Coast regions however are less researched and recorded for their mushroom ecology. In Alabama, only 56 bolete species have been reported so far. Specimens in this project were collected from Baldwin and Mobile Counties, AL, with the majority of specimens collected at The Fish River Nature Preserve. The Fish River Nature Preserve (FRNP) is located south of Fairhope in Baldwin County, and was recently purchased by the South Alabama Land Trust Conservation group. This property includes an upper-level section with a tract dominated by oaks and another by pines, which is fire-controlled, and one near the river dominated by palmetto palms.

Upon collection, all collected specimens were brought from the field to the South Alabama campus lab for technical descriptions, imaging, freezing of a small tissue sample, dehydration preservation of the fruiting body, and storage of the specimen. Microscopic work followed that and included the measurement of basidiospores. A primary list of the suspected species of each specimen was created based on morphological descriptions and spore measurements. The frozen tissue sample then underwent DNA extraction via Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) amplification. Specimens that yielded DNA products were then uploaded into GenBan via Blasting to find matches of named sequences that are already in the GenBank database. A total of 26 specimens were collected at the FRNP and Mobile County. 19 of the 26 specimens' identities were confirmed via DNA blasting from which 2 were confirmed to the genus level and the other 17 the the species level. Those remaining 7 that did not yield a DNA confirmed identity were identified morphologically. Together with morphological descriptions and DNA confirmation, a total of 17 species were identified, and they include: A. russellii (NTN-16); B. alutaceus (NTN-09); B. vermiculosoides (NTN-21); E. floridanus (NTN-14); G. castaneus (NTN-01; NTN-03, NTN-06, NTN-12, NTN-17, NTN-22); H. rubellus (NTN-10, NTN-13); L. albellum (NTN-04, NTN-18); P. bellus (NTN-02); P. rhodoxanthus (NTN-15); S. floccopus (NTN-05); S. decipiens (NTN-23); T. balloui (NTN-11); T. rhoadsiae (NTN-08); T. rubrobrunneus (NTN-20, NTN-26); X.affine (NTN-24, NTN-25); X. intermedius (NTN-07); X. subtomentosus (NTN-19). One species, B. alutaceus (NTN-09) commonly known as the “Leather Colored Bolete” is a species native to New England that was identified on the FRNP with no previously reported collections in Southern Alabama.


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